In this post, Carla Atherton, Director of the Healthy Family Formula, relates how she discovered that functional medicine has better answers for why her daughter developed type 1 diabetes.
What Are We Missing in Conventional Care for Type 1 Diabetes?
When I got the call from the doctor that fateful day, (February 2nd, 2012, to be exact), our lives changed forever. “Carla,” she said, “your daughter has diabetes.” I stood in my friend’s entrance with my silver flip phone in my hand while my three children bustled around me getting their boots and jackets on to go home. But we weren’t going home. We were going to the hospital.
When we arrived in the hospital, we trusted the staff to tell us what to do, but it didn’t take long before I realized that our goals and theirs were much different, that they had no answers for us, only a “hush, darling, don’t ask too much,” in response to my questions which later escalated to demands.
Seven years later, I have finally learned all that I should have been taught then, all that I should have been taught all my life, really. The true answers to: “what happened?” and “why?” and “where do we go from here?”
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
My goals were not to limp my daughter along with disempowering complacency, short-sighted, impotent goals, and substandard care and not to head to the hospital whenever things hit critical mass. They were to find out what caused my daughter’s illness and then to help her to recover from it in every way: mind, spirit, and body. Instinctually, I knew that there was more to this health thing than what I had ever been taught.
And then I found functional medicine. The science and research, the upgraded and integrative health paradigm together matched what my mama instinct, my scientist brain, my poet heart all knew was right: there was more, much more, for her.
As a mother seven years into this journey with my own daughter AND as a family health professional, I can tell you that much about what we are taught about type 1 diabetes through conventional medicine is only part of the story, and in some cases, it’s not even the story at all.
I discovered that there are many factors that all play significant roles in the onset and perpetuation of type 1 diabetes:
- Functional assessments
- Environmental causal factors
- Infections causal factors
- Lifestyle factors
- The connection to the central nervous system
- The connection to the gastrointestinal tract
- The mechanisms behind autoimmunity
- Trauma as both causal and as a result of a diagnosis
And they all hold keys to the vault of wellness battened down with many heavy chains.
A Functional, Holistic Approach to Type 1 Diabetes
When we don’t take a functional, holistic approach, we miss the opportunity to open up an entire world of possibilities.
Did you know that:
- Intestinal permeability is one of the triad of causal factors for autoimmunity?
- Many children who have type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease, many of whom are undiagnosed?
- Type 1 diabetes can be linked to:
- Hemochromatosis (a typically genetic condition in which excess iron is not eliminated from the body)
- Toxicity/injury from routine medical childhood procedures
- A sensitivity to milk (specifically the peptide casein A1-b)
There ARE causes for the onset of type 1 diabetes (not just bad luck), and type 1 can be prevented for our other children.
The Role of the Central Nervous System
The central nervous system plays an integral role in the onset and perpetuation of type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin, and this allows blood sugar levels to reach dangerously high levels. Therapies that calm the central nervous system such as craniosacral therapy, photobiomodulation, aromatherapy, and acupressure can significantly reduce blood sugar levels.
On the flip side, emotional stressors and environmental stressors such as WiFi can significantly increase blood sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar is not just a numbers game, but contingent on a myriad of chemical, hormonal, nutritional, viral, emotional, environmental, and bacterial factors.
How to Get Off the Blood Sugar Rollercoaster
My concern is this: what are parents like me not being taught about diet, exercise, rest, environment, causes, solutions, treatments, recovery, and future health outcomes?
Parents are more than ready to get off of the emotional and physical rollercoaster of chronic illness and to help their children take charge of their health so they can get on with the business of living.
In this series of articles, I will tell you all I know about NOT simply managing type 1 diabetes but transcending the diagnosis.
As a holistic family health consultant and mother of a daughter with type 1 diabetes, I have a lot to share with you about a new way to view type 1 diabetes and how to help your children:
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Feel better and more healthy on a daily basis
- Minimize or eliminate hospital visits and emergencies
- Prevent co-morbitidities and further health complications
You can and should be empowered to create your own child’s healing plan so your family can move beyond the diagnosis.
To read Carla’s series of articles about causes, solutions, and a new prognosis for your child with type 1 diabetes, check out her article about it here.
About Carla Atherton
Carla Atherton, MA, FDN-P, Family Health Coach, is the director of The Healthy Family Formula, host of The Children’s and Teen Health Summit, author of the forthcoming book Family Health Revolution (release date: March 15th. 2019), editor, book junkie and research geek.
She is the insatiably curious mother of three grown (son age 20), almost grown (daughter age 18), and growing (daughter age 15) children, one of whom has type 1 diabetes.
Carla lives on an acreage in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, where she works from a home office with families from all over the world on the reversal of children’s chronic health conditions.
Carla is on a revolutionary mission to empower families to transcend our new normal of ill health and chronic disease. You can find out more about her and her work at her website www.healthyfamilyformula.com
Sources & References
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Laron, Z. Interplay between heredity and environment in the recent explosion of type 1 childhood diabetes mellitus. Am J Med Genet. 2002;115(1):4-7.
Rosa, J.S., et al. Altered inflammatory, oxidative, and metabolic responses to exercise in pediatric obesity and type 1 diabetes. Pediatr Diabetes. 2011;12(5):464-72.
Vaarala, O. Is the origin of type 1 diabetes in the gut? Immunol Cell Biol. 2012;90(3):271-6.
Vaarala, O. Gut microbiota and type 1 diabetes. Rev Diabet Stud. 2012;9(4):251-9.